Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

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  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Really have no idea what is happening here although I suspect a hardware failure of some sort. The issue is now appearing at random times during the day - three times to this point today alone. Once for 3+ hours, once again for 1.5 hours, a short 5+ minute of sell to grid and now same thing again.

    Xantrex is not responding to emails, I guess I'll bite the bullet and call them to wait on hold.

    Huge time involvement here..............
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    More new parameters this morning at 8:03AM this sunny morning. Had the meter set to trap freq variations when at 8:03 the inverter faulted with F26 (low freq), but the meter registered nothing.

    This is a very unique set of circumstances and a pattern is beginning to emerge that suggests the problem may be the inverter itself. F26 is not the normal happening at 8:03 - it has been F25 and before that it was F49. Of course now we also have the phantom fault with its own infinite/indefinite loop. In the past, there have been some occasions when I did not trap an F25/26 fault on the meter when the inverter faulted, but I never gave it much thought.

    Now with all these new happenings, I'm wondering about the cause and effect. Is it possible that the inverter is the culprit here? I mean, while it doesn't seem logical that the inverter could be malfunctioning at 8:03 on many mornings, could it be that's the case?

    I recall when this unit was first installed, the label stated that it was built on a particular date, but the fault log suggested that it had been in service at a time of months previously - like the unit was previously returned and resold as new. I asked Xantrex about this on more than one occasion and they declined to respond with any kind of statement.

    At the moment (8:35AM), the unit has failed to come back to Sell and is going through the motions of Bluk, Absorption, ABS finish, ChgFinish and Selltogrid, etc. And for the record, during the first 5 minutes after the F26 at 8:03, the unit was in ACpassthru, which is normal for that fault. It immediately started the phantom fault following the ACpassthru cycle.

    Thoughts?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,024 admin
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Where is the frequency meter installed? Before or after the XW inverter?

    It sounds like it is time to politely ask to speak to a manager (yes, you are very frustrated).

    It is not impossible that this unit was cycled through their system with a no trouble found (ntf is very common--I don't know what happened at Xantrex--but you need to find out).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    the meter position should not matter if the unit is in ac passthrough for it is allowing utility electric to power circuits and not the inverter. you do have a dilemma and i noticed there hasn't been any chiming in from xantrex experts here possibly leaving you stuck between a rock and a hard place on a solution to an unknown problem. i would get to hounding xantrex and see if they would do an exchange while they look over your inverter. in fact, let them keep the one you have now for one that doesn't show previous faults on it.
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    The meter is attached to any particular outlet in house. This invert is attached to the whole house via a transfer switch and when in invert mode, no outlets/circuits are powered up unless I do something with the transfer switch. Therefore, normally there is no load on the inverter when in Sell, sans the Grid..........

    So to answer your question, it doesn't make any difference where I place the Fluke
    115, since the whole house is treated as if it's the grid.

    I finally heard from Xantrex and they are going to send me the latest firmware, although they did not suggest that they know anything about what is going on in this case nor did they send me the semantics document re the fixes, nor did they express confidence that the firmware addresses anything I have been experiencing.

    Very likely this moving target is an intermittently bad connection/solder joint in the inverter........

    Of course, none of that explains why this seems to occur at 8:03AM, mostly on weekday mornings???

    So I'm probably looking at more than one problem, part of which is PG&E.
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Just watching this continue to cycle through the loop and noticed every time it goes to sell, it immediately comes up to 6033 watts and then goes offline. This shouldn't/can't happen because there isn't enough sun for that at this time of the morning. I have seen the system successfully generate 5700-5800 watts on a cold/sunny/late spring morning, but never 6000???

    Just another clue.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    humor them with the software update. who knows, it may even cure it if it's a software glitch unique to your inverter. having a properly working inverter is the goal here and the software update, if it works, could save on the headaches of sending it in and the downtime.
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Well, made a new observation this morning, have not be in a position to see this previously. The SCP showed the inverter to be in AC passthru at 6:20 and I knew that it should be starting to sell soon - it was foggy. I watched it go into SellToGrid mode and it immediately showed the sell watts rise to almost 4950 before entering the phantom fault cycle.

    We all know that at that time of the morning, when the inverter first senses available power, the available watts are at most 100+-.

    What could cause this kind of anomaly?
  • Joe_BJoe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid
    pcguy2u wrote: »
    What could cause this kind of anomaly?

    Bad hardware.......
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Agreed, but which part?
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    More new info - just pulled the covers off the 2 XW-MPPT60-150 charge controllers because the #2 unit has disappeared from the SCP display. Both units show the same input and of course, since the outputs are eventually tied together, they also show the same.

    The display however shows no output on the #2 unit and it also does not show any faults. When I cut the breaker to #2, it goes into "Low Light" mode.

    Replaced the ethernet cable with two different cables and and the terminator with a spare.

    While working on the unit, I noticed that when the inverter went to sell, and while the sell watts were rising out of control, #2 unit started to show output. Sorry but did not retain the output levels.

    Any comments or suggetions before I go to Xantrex/Schnieder?
  • Joe_BJoe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid
    pcguy2u wrote: »
    Agreed, but which part?

    My guess would be the inverter but here is something to try, disconnect the xanbus. the SCC's should still charge the batteries. If the inverter is bad, you should be able to tell.
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    May be back to square one on this - just turned off both the input and output breakers on #2 for a short time. Turned them on again and now both units appear on the SCP and both units have exactly the same output - I would expect that to be the case with a slight overcast and very diffused light.

    Unfortunately, the phantom fault continues.
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid
    Joe_B wrote: »
    My guess would be the inverter but here is something to try, disconnect the xanbus. the SCC's should still charge the batteries. If the inverter is bad, you should be able to tell.

    I'm just a bit dense on this one - what would the inverter do if it's defective and is not able to communicate with the controllers? I mean what would I be looking for or expect to see?
  • Joe_BJoe_B Solar Expert Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    I dont have an answer to that one but by disconnecting things, you will be able to isolate the problem to a specific module. The SCC will stand alone (no xanbus) so it should be able to continue to charge the batteries. The inverter will also stand alone without comms to the SCC's the battery voltage should rise to yor sell point and your inverter should go into sell mode based solely on battery voltage. If there is a problem with an SCC, you should see it. If there is a problem with the inverter you should see it. The only thing you will have to do is make sure both SCC's are in the same charge state but assumung that they have the same charge settings, they should follow each other. obviously the SCP wont work for the system but you can connect it to the inverter and use the front panels of the SCC's to monitor things.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,024 admin
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Someone here said that GT inverters will output a surge of current to "check" the grid connection... I do not believe that is a requirement for anywhere than possibly Germany where (a few years ago) GT inverters for Germany had to check the "Grid Impedance".

    I do not know if GT inverters do send a current surge, or if XW Hybrid inverters do this or not... But it is possible for an inverter to do that to check the grid or the battery bank (aka load test).

    By the way, how fast did it ramp to 4kW and back down to near zero? As I understand, a GT inverter should take a few seconds (at least) to "adjust" current output over a wide range like that.

    Ask Xantrex/Schneider if the XW does the current/power surge on purpose--If not--then it sounds like you have your problem. Would new firmware work, or wiping out the configuration memory and re-configuring work--Possibly.

    Otherwise, it sounds like you have seen inconsistent behavior and the inverter should be replaced.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Ok, turned off both controllers and after the 5 minute cycle, same thing, the inverter starts sell, ramps up (maybe 4-5 seconds) to 5000w+ and then immediately stops selling and the output drops to -5 or so.

    Turned off the inverter, restarted it and same thing.

    One thing I did notice is the two controllers are slightly different - one is 865-1030 and the other is 865-1030-1 - manufactured about 3 months apart in 2008. Their PC boards are not the same.

    I pulled the cover on the inverter and was able to listen to the interior noises more easily - heard a high pitch, very low volume sound. May not mean anything.

    The ironic part of all this is that the system becomes normal without any intervention.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,024 admin
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Hmmm... Sounds normal--but does not sound desirable to have this happen every AM/randomly. I wonder if they are "checking" the battery state of charge? (and if maximum power is based on battery AH setting in configuration menu?).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Just measured the grid tie during the few seconds that sell occurs and the voltage rises from 242.2 to 245.3 and then drops back to 242.3.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,024 admin
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    That would be normal... Nothing wrong there:
    • 5,000 watts / 245 volts = ~20.4 amps
    • R=V/I=(245.3-242.2)/20.4 amps = 0.054 ohms estimated AC wiring resistance
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid
    pcguy2u wrote: »
    Ok, turned off both controllers and after the 5 minute cycle, same thing, the inverter starts sell, ramps up (maybe 4-5 seconds) to 5000w+ and then immediately stops selling and the output drops to -5 or so.

    Actually ramps up to 6000+ (I guess using just the batteries) never goes beyond 6000 by very much. Of course that's the max spec on this system.

    Just rechecked the battery specs in both controllers - they are still the same and identical.

    When absorption is happening, the battery voltages show and test 57.7. It drops to 54.2 when ABS finish/Charge Finish occur and 50.8 when selling (like for extended periods and under normal condtions).
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    As it always happens, I was not here at about 12:30 when Sell began normally again and it is still selling.

    Checked the sell voltage, it was 245.0.

    Confused as ever - but it does seem to point to the inverter..............
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    This morning the system came up at 6:30AM (very foggy) and successfully started selling 14W and is still selling normally.

    Yesterday was a complete mess with the phantom fault in effect for 6 hours+-.........
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Sunday the 17th was perfect, no trapped faults with my Fluke and no Fault warnings from the inverter and no phantom faults.

    Of course, as I have stated previously, weekend days don't seem to produce any PG&E faults - note though that Saturday had the phantom fault a good part of the day and I ended up tearing all the covers off, even on my transfer switch

    This morning however, started out normally with sunny and clear and selling at 6:00AM - trapped a hi freq at 8:04 and the inverter saw an F25 at the same time. Phantom fault every 5 minutes until 9:30 - still running normal as I write this.
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    More of the same all week with F25 and F26 at 8:03 and then after phantom faults until 9:30, it goes back to normal. Even if I turn off/power down the inverter, when it goes to sell again, the phantom fault remains.

    This morning (foggy) I was not set to trap anything with my Fluke 115, but uncharacteristicly at 8:03, the inverter got F30 and then went into phantom faults until 9:30.

    Selling normally at the moment.
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    More documentation:

    I have an electrical engineer friend who does a good number of power installations, including solar and wind. Here are some of his recommendations for isolating this issue.

    I can’t say for sure that something in your house or inverter is not the cause of your frequency troubles. I recommend that you try to eliminate possible causes. If you have not already done so, please try these tests:

    1. Separate completely from PG&E by opening the breaker towards the utility. Run your house off the inverter and batteries between 7 AM and 9 AM to see if the frequency alarm still occurs at 8:03 AM.

    2. Separate completely from your inverter system by opening the breaker towards the inverter and run your house only from PG&E. Check for frequency alarm at the usual time.

    3. Separate completely from PG&E and the inverter. Run your house from the standby generator and check for frequency alarm. (It is good to periodically run a standby generator to turn over the fuel anyway.)

    4. If your inverter has an internal clock, try setting the clock an hour behind and see if the frequency alarm occurs an hour later.

    5. Do you have water softener that is set to recharge or complete its cycle at 8:03 AM? What about a potable water pump, septic system pump, solar hot water pump, or irrigation system timer?



    Even after performing the above tests, we can’t say for sure that there is not some sort of strange interaction between your inverter and the PG&E system. Things that could cause power quality problems include:

    1. Third harmonic currents from variable frequency drives on pumps at the Sereno Del Mar Water Company facility near your home.

    2. Capacitor switching on the PG&E system (capacitors are used for power factor correction).

    3. Do the alarms happen only on weekdays, or on weekends, too? Are there any large offices, colleges, or industrial facilities on the same feeder as your home? These facilities could be starting up large loads, such as chillers or arc furnaces at 8:03 AM.

    4. Large solar arrays, wind facilities, or landfill gas to energy power plant on your feeder that are scheduled to start up at the same time every day.


    As of this morning, I have changed the clock on the SCP, but nothing has occurred since the moment I did that.

    Also this morning, I opened the grid breaker on the inverter (it started to INVERT just as it should have) and just before 8AM I set up my fluke at the main panel (house disconnected) to test for frequency anomalies. None were found. This is Monday and that is one of the three most likely days for this problem to occur - I will test again tomorrow and Wednesday. If necessary I will perform many of the steps described above.

    Upon turning the grid tie breaker back on, the inverter started its nomal get ready to sell process (btw, it was selling when I disconnected the grid) which are the same as the steps described in this phantom fault. So, I expected what I was seeing. What I did not expect was that the inverter would start the phantom fault cycle over and over again. There must be a clue here as to what starts the cycle. In the past, the issue has continued for hours, including all day once, early on in the process of observing this problem. But frequently the problem goes away at about 9:30AM - it's going on 9:00AM at the moment.

    I had the forsight to set up my meter this morning to trap voltage level anomalies (not frequency) and at the moment, nothing abnormal shows - 122.0 - to 122.4. Under the same circumstances, in the past, I have checked for frequency anomalies and never found any during the phantom fault cycles.

    I posted this previously, but there seems to be a clue in the following:While the phantom fault is going on, I have observed that at the moment sell starts (only lasts for about 10-12 seconds) the battery level drops to normal and the the sell wattage immediately and gradually begins to climb to 6000+- which of course is the inverter maximum. As was pointed out previously this may be just to test the interlock with the grid. What was very curious was that at one point, when making this same observation, both charge controllers were disconnected at the breaker interface. That must mean that it was trying to sell to the grid by using the batteries - does that make sense?

    I will post the time the inverter comes back on line.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    My thoughts,

    Your battery's are cooked, I suggested some time ago you needed to at a minimum double your capacity, you didn't and now the battery are probably weaker than ever and have less ability to deal with your F49's. Regardless of anything else, you need 600ah minimum ( 48V )

    Until you address this, its meaningless to hunt down your faults. Weird charge cycles, F49 faluts all point to the batteries.

    The XW-6048 will sell initially to its rated capacity, until is pulls the battery voltage down ( your sell should be 52V compensated )

    SG
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    I can't deny that what you say may be accurate, but before I spend another $5K replacing and updating my system, I need to get the invert to display something about the phantom faults. Something definitive and that indicates what you say it true.

    Anyone have a recommendation for testing these large batteries?

    I doubt that anyone would want to blindly go down that road.

    Of course, that doesn't answer the question about why, thru all of this, the inverter is able to run the whole house from the invert mode via the batteries.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    Run your whole house on 258ah? ... you might get 1 hour at rated load on brand new battery before the battery's melt.

    The C20 rate would require 3000ah , your running the battery's at C2.

    Your issues are caused by your refusal to have adequate battery capacity, you need to have the proper battery's for proper operation. Its not the inverters job to report status "I can't run right because there isn't sufficient battery capacity". Its the installers job ( you in this case ) to properly design the system. You didn't and you have issues, what further validation would one need?
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: Bulk Absorption Chg Finish Selltogrid

    So if I disconncect one of my charge controllers and my batteries test ok, you are suggesting that all these symptoms will disappear???
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